Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Big F***ing Problem.

Check out this article from the Telegraph, about a town in Austria with the unfortunate name of F***ing. What's their problem, you ask? Light-fingered British tourists.

But for the conservative inhabitants of a settlement called F***ing in rural Upper Austria near Salzburg that comprises just 32 houses (population: 104), the English meaning of their village's name is just one giant headache. One night, all four road signs on its approaches were stolen by tourists. Since records began, there has been no crime there - apart from the perennial theft of what officials call "street furniture".

Thanks to Larry Urdang for the link to the article!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

What do you call ...

From Garner's Usage Tip of the Day (click here to subscribe)

Loose guidelines do exist for naming denizens. George R. Stewart, a historian, developed seven guidelines that H.L. Mencken called "Stewart's Laws of Municipal Onomastics." They were cited in the best up-to-date work on this subject, Paul Dickson's Labels for Locals (1997): (1) if the place name ends in "-a" or "-ia," add "-n" (Alaska, Alaskan) (California, Californian); (2) if the name ends in "-i" or a sounded "-e," add "-an" (Hawaii, Hawaiian) (Albuquerque, Albuquerquean); (3) if the name ends in "-on," add "-ian" (Oregon, Oregonian); (4) if the name ends in "-y," change the "-y" to an "-i" and add "-an" (Albany, Albanian); (5) if the name ends in "-o," add "-an" (Chicago, Chicagoan); (6) if the name ends in a consonant or a silent "-e," add either "-ite" or "-er," depending on euphony (Maine, Mainer) (New Hampshire, New Hampshireite); (7) if the name ends in "-polis," change that to "-politan" (Minneapolis, Minneapolitan).

A new edition of Labels for Locals is due out soon from HarperCollins!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

"Too many protest singers/not enough protest songs"

Does that subject line make no sense to you? Then click here for the explicating cartoon, of interest to VERBATIM readers ...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Disaster Plan

This sign-SIC! was submitted by Robert L. Sharp of South Pasadena, who remarks:
"No thank you; we have enough trouble at home already."

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Penny Not-So-Dreadfuls

I just noticed that quite a few copies of Edwin Newman's Strictly Speaking are being offered on for a penny. (Plus shipping, of course.)

Here's Laurence Urdang's review of it. (Summing up for those of you who won't click the link: "All this sounds very unfriendly and damning. Nonetheless, the book is really very amusing--even downright sidesplitting in places--and, if the reader can overlook its shortcomings, he will find it a very entertaining collection, with commentary, of the foibles of those responsible for communicating to us (badly) the (bad) news of the day.")

While I'm putting articles online, here's a lovely one from Vol. II/1: Urdang's The Art and Technique of Citation Reading.

Friday, August 19, 2005

New Site!

We've changed the design of our site to make it easier (we hope) to read, and easier (we fervently hope) to update.

Please email me with any broken or missing links, oddities, etc. I will be slowly re-linking old posts, just for posterity's sake (none were very important).

Note also that I have added PDFs for all of Volumes XXVIII and XXIX -- click on the "back issues online" link to the right to check them out. (The Summer 1999 issue will be offline for a bit as I try to figure out what the heck I was thinking when I coded such truly horrible html back in 2002.)

The Spring 2005 and Summer 2005 issues are nearly finished, and should hit the printer simultaneously. I'll post again when I think they are a bit closer to your mailbox.